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Main > Ukrainian folktales > Fairy tale "The Wondrous Story of Ivan Golik and the Serpents"

The Wondrous Story of Ivan Golik and the Serpents

But at night, Ivan Golik took the prince aside, and said to him, “Now, prince, see that we go home to-morrow, for they mean us no good here. And now, listen to me! I beg thee tell not thy wife the truth of the matter for seven years. However caressing she may be, thou shalt not let her ears know the truth, for if thou dost tell her the truth, both thou and I shall perish!”

“Good!” said he. “I will not tell my wife the truth.”

Next morning the young men arose and went to the serpent, and the prince took leave of his father-in-law, and said he must be going home.

“But why off so soon?” said the serpent.

“Nay, but I must go,” said he.

Then the serpent gave the youth a banquet, and they sat down and ate and made merry, and after that he departed to his own tsardom. And the prince thanked Ivan Golik for all that he had done for him, and made him the first of his counsellors. Whatever Ivan Golik said was performed throughout the realm, while the Tsar had only to sit on his throne and do nothing.

So the young prince dwelt with his wife for a year or two, and in the third year a son was added to them, and the heart of the prince was glad. Now one day he took his little son in his arms, and said, “Is there anything in the wide world that I like better than this child?” When the princess saw that the heart of her spouse was tender, she fell a-kissing and caressing him, and began asking him all about the time when they were first married, and how he had been able to do her father’s commands. And the prince said to her, “My head would long ago have been mouldering on the posts of thy father’s palace had it not been for Ivan Golik. ’Twas he who did it all and not I.”

Then she was very wrath. But she never changed countenance, and shortly afterward she went out.

Ivan Golik was sitting in his own house at his ease, when the princess came flying in to him. And immediately she drew out of the ground a handkerchief with gold borders, and no sooner had she waved this serpentine handkerchief, than Ivan fell asunder into two pieces.

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